Move into care home during pandemic?

AnnAnne

New member
Sep 20, 2020
2
Hi, sorry if this has already been discussed but I haven't been able to find a discussion about whether people would put their loved ones into a care home at the moment if they could possibly avoid it. My mum currently lives alone in sheltered accommodation but her dementia symptoms have increased a lot since lockdown. There have been a couple of hospital stays due to uti and delerium and her care has increased from once a day before lockdown to pratically 24 hour care now. She wanders at night, has halucinations and was found outside on the street unable to get back into the building (she said she was going to a party!) Mum has been very resistent to agency carers in the past so we organised a private carer last year which was working well, however, now she is there nearly all the time it is driving mum mad. It also means that my brother and I are trying to cover the times that she doesn't work. This works for mum but is very hard for us to juggle with our jobs and family commitments (I have young children). I made some enquiries to local care homes and we have been offered a self funding place but we are so unsure as to whether this would be the best thing to do given the current visiting restrictions and the real possibility of another full on lockdown. I know many of you will have loved ones in care homes at this time but should we be doing everything we can to try and avoid moving mum until the pandemic restrictions are lifted (whenever that may be). This was never going to be easy but we feel doubly guilty as we may be cutting off all contact for the forseeable future. What would you do?
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,938
Kent
Hello @AnnAnne. Welcome to the forum.

From your post, it sounds as if your mother is already at risk if she is wandering at night. She would be at risk of exposure or getting lost or even worse coming to harm by a road traffic accident.

If the care home is pre[ared to take her as a resident during the pandemic I`m sure they will do all they can to keep her safe from infection whereas you are not unable to keep her safe from harm.

If it was my mum who was living alone and in this state I would opt for residential care.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,830
Hi @AnnAnne and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. This is a very helpful and supportive place and you'll get loads of advice from people.
The whole covid crisis has made decisions around moving loved ones into care even tougher than they already were. To me it sounds as though she would benefit from being in a care home, she obviously needs twenty-four hour care, and she might in a strange way feel more independent than she does with someone in her own home looking after her. Also I doubt if your brother and you can carry on juggling your own lives and looking after her needs. You won't be abandoning her, even if you can't see her as often as you do now, just caring for her in a different way.
 

AnnAnne

New member
Sep 20, 2020
2
Thank you both for your advice. I have thought the same that she may feel more independent if she has her own room in a care home where she can sit quietly. Her carer at the moment is lovely but very loud and I know it gets too much for mum. It doesn't help that the carer keeps telling me how awful it would be for mum to be in a care home now! It's really not helpful.
 

jamanda

New member
Nov 25, 2019
2
I have just had to make the same decision.

My 89 year old mum with vd broke her hip. Previously she has lived with us for the last 7 odd years and I confess I was struggling.

In hospital she seemed to go down further every day and she was making no progress at all physically either. I watched two highly trained people struggling to move her on to a trolly type thing to take her to the loo. I knew then I wasn't strong enough. When the hospital wanted to kick her out I had little choice. No matter which way we tried to work it out, it wouldn't have been possible to keep her safe at home. Unfortunately she didn't realise she was in hospital and didn't know she had broken her hip. Consequently she kept trying to get up and walk. The hospital found her sitting bolt upright in the middle of the room at one point.

We were offered a hospital bed, rotunda, hoist etc. and 2 carers 4 times a day, with possible night intervention. This might have worked had she realised that she was broken. We knew as soon as we turned our backs she would try to get up and walk, either following me or if the dogs barked she would toddle off to see why. With the best will in the world, sometimes you have to nip to the loo, answer the door etc. She would have been back in hospital with something else broken within a day or two. Other than handcuffing her to the bed, we could not possibly have looked after her.

So - we couldn't leave her in hospital. We couldn't look after her properly here.
I rang a care home of my choice and they agreed to take her (temporarily until she got better or permanently being more realistic). During the process, the care home went into lockdown but still took her as they had promised.

Due to covid isolation I haven't seen her, but reports are that she is chatting to them, eating and drinking a bit more and is quite settled. I think she thinks it is a nicer hospital.

This was the hardest decision I've ever had to make but I am confident that it was the only decision for the circumstances.

I'm really, really not happy that it has come to this, but I know it is the best thing for mum, and look forward to seeing her when I can.
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
507
Wandering and getting locked out at night is not good, and as it's getting darker and colder now I'd be constantly worried, as I'm sure you all are. The truth is we don't know how long this will go on for, and with the talk of aanother lockdown I would also be asking this question now as I'd be worried care homes would pause admission during it should another crisis arise.

If you have kids (perhaps at school?) and what sounds like quite a few households coming and going at mum's I'm not sure it's really that much safer than a good care home which has the same staff but good hygiene and PPE - it probably depends on how large the home is. We've just had a staff member test positive (with no symptoms!) at Dad's small home but they didn't pass it on to other staff or residents.

There's always a bit of a settling in period where visiting may not be encouraged anyway, and you'd hope the home would have some way of connecting you afterwards especially if you are local. I'm afraid I've not seen my dad at all this year as I was supposed to go down during school holidays as I work with children but by then we were in lockdown and I live a long way away.

It will feel terrible moving her into a care home but it will keep her more safe than she is at the moment - and hopefully be quieter!
 

Gangplank

New member
Sep 22, 2020
1
If your home is capable of taking care of her then just take care of her at home but if not then opt out for residential care.